Thirty per cent of applications for tech fund 2 involve the use of open source software, NHS England’s head of business systems told the Handi Health Conference at EHI Live 2014 in Birmingham.

Richard Jefferson said there has been a significant increase in interest in open source solutions since the first tech fund, which shows that both trusts are coming around to the idea and that suppliers are coming to market to fulfil that demand.

“Hopefully we will see a continuation of that,” he added.

The prospectus for the second round of what is officially called the Integrated Digital Care Fund focused on open source solutions as an option for trusts.

The fund is worth £240m, from which £20m has reportedly been earmarked for open source projects after being rolled over from the first round, due to timing issues.

Jefferson said NHS England is working on benefits realisation projects to “convince people in the NHS more widely that this is a valuable approach”.

This includes a literature review and case studies being pursued via the tech fund bids.

NHS England is also looking at providing innovation prizes and is holding an open source open day in Newcastle on 26 November, where a new open source e-prescribing module will be demonstrated.

It is working internationally with teams in Australia, Slovenia, the US and Canada as it “shouldn’t be limited to the NHS if we can gain knowledge and innovation internationally as well,” he said.

Developments in the programme so far include the decision by IMS Maxims to open source the code for its electronic patient record, which will be deployed at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

The Open Eyes EPR developed at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is being deployed at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and the open source nursing observations systems from Neova Health is now implemented in a number of trusts.

The winners of the second round of the tech fund are expected to be announced in coming weeks.